Could it be? Could slamming that tall glass of Orange Juice, good old OJ, be the secret to staying lean?
Two recent studies see a connection. Let dig into their findings to see if we can unravel the truth behind the connection between drinking 100% fruit juice, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. There were two studies worth reviewing, both examines large cross-sections of the us population over a period of years. Both studies compared fruit juice consumption with body composition using Body Mass Index (BMI). Beyond that the studies also looked at other factors like metabolic syndrome, lifestyle behaviors like smoking or alcohol consumption.
[box type=”important”]The results: SHOCKING consuming OJ was linked with being healthier, leaner, and less susceptible to metabolic syndrome.[/box]
Together the researchers tracked 28,167 people for more than three years. They tracked the amount of 100% fruit juice consumed each day, tracked BMI, and other health factors.
Juice Consumers were characterized by:
- Leaner (lower body fat percentage)
- More insulin sensitive
- 22% lower odds of obesity (BMI >= 30)
- 15% lower odds of metabolic syndrome
The most recent study, published March 2012 studied 13,971 people from 2003 to 2006. They included people age 4 and older. Since they included children and adolescents as well as adults this study explored how fruit consumption affected health factors for different age groups. They found no connection between fruit juice consumption and health for children and adolescents; only adults.
The other study was published December 2010 and included 14,196 adults from 1999 to 2004. They found 3961 people who consumed fruit juice.
But inquiring minds want to know more: does juice make you lean?
Let’s not jump to conclusions so quickly. One of the studies ends with this concluding statement that is quite telling:
“Experimental studies are needed to determine whether any direct physiologic link exists between consumption of 100% fruit juice and lower risks for obesity and metabolic syndrome.”
Part of the problem with studying dietary connections to health and fitness is difficult to correlate because there are so many different variables. For instance the study didn’t do any analysis of the caloric consumption of people involved in the study. Did OJ consumers embrace juicing completely? Was there a connection with high-carb or low-carb diets? Were people who consumed juice more, or less likely, to exercise? Does drinking juice affect the forms of exercise people do? For example, does drinking juice correlate with distance runners, aerobics junkies, interval trainers, or heavy weight lifters? There are countless combinations that were beyond the scope of these two studies.
The most likely conclusion is that juice drinkers are making conscious decisions to improve their health. Consuming juice could be a side-effect instead of the source of their health.
The question still stands, did juice make people healthier, or are healthier people more likely to drink juice.
[box type=”note”]Either way, as a reader of Hive Health Media, you can’t go wrong with a tall glass of 100% real fruit juice, like Orange Juice, in the morning. So drink your 100% fruit juice with a clear conscience and stay lean, the odds are in your favor.[/box]
- Impact of orange juice consumption on macronutrient and energy intakes and body composition in the US population,Wang Y, Lloyd B, Yang M, et al, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA, Public Health Nutr. 2012 Mar 20:1-8.
- Consumption of 100% fruit juice and risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome: findings from the national health and nutrition examination survey 1999-2004, Pereira MA, Fulgoni VL 3rd.,Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA, J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Dec;29(6):625-9.